More About the Author
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Erica Verrillo was born in Rochester, New York on May 10th, 1953. Her parents, both classical musicians, named her after famed violinist, Erica Morini. Verrillo studied piano with her mother as a young child, and then flute with John Oberbrunner. At age seventeen she moved to England, where she played in the Oxford Symphony Orchestra and studied with Gareth Morris, principal flutist of the Philharmonia Orchestra. A year later she moved back to the U.S. where she attended New England Conservatory as a student of Boston Symphony Orchestra's James Pappoutsakis.
Verrillo finished her undergraduate education at Tufts University, where she majored in Latin American History. Soon after receiving her B.A. from Tufts, she set out to explore Latin America on foot, hitchhiking through Central America, over the Andes to Argentina, and finally to Brazil.
Verrillo returned to the U.S. to complete her M.A. in Linguistics at Syracuse University, after which she moved to Manhattan, where she taught English as a Second Language at the World Trade Center and at the New York Association for New Americans. In 1982 Verrillo entered SUNY Albany's Ph.D. program in Anthropology, where she became linguistic supervisor of the Albany-Chiapas project, an eighteen-month field project among the Chamulas of southern Mexico.
Living in Central America, Verrillo soon turned her energies to refugee aid. In 1984 she founded the Guatemalan Refugee Crafts Project, a weaving co-op funded initially by Seva Foundation. Over the next ten years, Verrillo earned $100,000 for the camps, supporting over 600 people.
In 1990, Verrillo resumed work on her Ph.D. at UT Austin, this time in Speech Communication, where she combined her knowledge of linguistics with anthropology. But, in 1992, after several bouts with tropical diseases in Guatemala, Verrillo fell ill with what was later diagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).
In the mid-1990s, Verrillo teamed up with another ME/CFS sufferer, Lauren Gellman, to write what is now a classic in the ME/CFS literature: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Treatment Guide. Fifteen years later, she published the second edition of the work. Her research into treating the illness is ongoing.